Skyhigh 13 ch21 C64 Hardware
From C64 Diskmag Wiki
c64 hardware - upgrade yeppa here we go! in the last issue of this magazine, i gave you a little sneak-preview of some new wonderfull hardware for the good old breadcase! before that another magazine had done an article over the new disc drives. just recently i recieved a sending from my cool friend from finland : electric! (i guess no further introducing should be necesseray!!!) in his note he encouraged me to tell the scene some more. but see for your self! (i hope, and i know it's ok that i use a bit of the note tommi!!!) " i've (electric -ed!) sent you the list from cmd direkt sales, please put these prices in your mag! it'd be nice to start using 3.5'' disks in the scene. anyway, if we don't get an import-firm, we must get 'em by ourselves. there's no sense in ordering a single fd4000, so we should make a big order from every coun- try. i've been asking all finnish c-64 dudes about this, but they DON'T HAVE MONEY or so on! anyway this thing is important for the existence of our scene. if we could get 4mhz to our computer, we'd beat the pc in speed of vectors etc! " as told then this was a part of a note by electric/extend sent to me (biz kid)! well i couldn't have said it better my- self. electric is highlightening all the true and important facts! i believe just as him that this will be THE chance to make the our scene live up to a new era!! about an import-firm!! yep again he's absolutely right! we have to buy big. in this way we, the users, might save some money! guess what? i know which firm who'll do that!!! yep, ofcoz it's : ELECTRIC BOYS ENTERTAINMENT SOFTWARE but they would like to know how many are interested. if not enough people want to upgrade their c64, then it'll be to expensive and then...... but read it later in this chapter! - -- ------------------ -- - but before you are able to answer this question you will have to be filled in with some informations! you know what? i got lot's of information for you right here and right now!! following article was written for the uk c64 magazine 'commodore format' by the manager of EBES : russ michaels! and now exclusive for all you readers, i bring it here in skyhigh! - -- ------------------ -- - who needs to upgrade to another machine when you can upgrade your c64? whether it's speed, extra memory or better sounds and graphics you're after, there are add-ons for the commy that soup up its performance to match any 16-bit machine. wanna hear some more ? your c64 is one mean machine and don't let anybody say otherwise. but if you do know any mockers or unbelievers, show'em this feature, and that'll silence'em. curb any dastardly thoughts of upgrading to an amiga and stop people wibbling on about the awe-inspiring specs of the SNES, 'cos there is some impressive hard ware available for the c64 that'll make commodore's premier machine kick some serious butt. the problem with the c64 is its public image. to most people it's an old- fashioned, naff-looking computer with only 16 colours, a measly 64k of memory, and a tape deck. man, it's so ancient and so slow, and there's no new software doesn't sound too impressive, does it? and that is exactly the set-up that most c64 owners have. so who can blame people for being sceptical? and is it such a wonder that the demise of the c64 is constantly being predicted? well wake up people and smell roses, coz it doesn't have to be this way... * 16 colours? pah. the standard number of colours on the c64 is 28 without any sort of tricks or programming, just a bit of colour mixing. and when you start interlacing you get over 1024 colours. not bad, eh? * what about the measly memory? okay, so that's how much your c64 comes with, but who says it has to stay that way? what would you say if i told you that you can have 16 megabytes of memory? that's 16.384k or 16.777.216 bytes. well believe it! * and how about that ancient tape deck? who needs it? why not just get an 800k 3.5 inch floppy disk drive; that's 3200 blocks of storage space, or in high den- sity mode, 1.6mb (over 6.500 blocks). * or if you want serious storage space then how about a hard drive? ranging from 40mb to 1000mb,they provide from 163.840 to 4.096.000 blocks. but what about the speed, because we all know that da access speed of commodore drives isn't much cop? well, that's been sorted too. just insert a jiffydos chip into your drive and voila, you have speed. wondrous, isn't it? so what is all this stuff? well, it's called hardware and a lot of it has been available for ages from the good ol' us of a, but it just hasn't had much exposure in the press. but now's the time to set that to rights here are a few of the more impressive add-ons you can get for your c64... R A M L I N K this is the chappie that allows you to have between 1mb and 16mb of extra memo- ry (ram). on the internal ramcard are 4 slots, each of which can house either a 1mb or a 4mb simm (available from any computer system/hardware supplier.) RAMLINK has a built-in ram port so that you can connect existing ram expansions units or georam. it's also a pass-thru port which allows you to connect you cartridges. RAMLINK has it's own built-in dos and acts like a ram-based disk drive, which means blindingly fast access, 400 times faster than a common-or-garden 1541 disk drive, in fact, and you can access it with standard commodore dos commands as though it were a disk drive (exept, of course, the access will be instant). so what practical use does RAMLINK have? imagine you favourite multiload game - how long do you have to wait between levels, loading sequence, title sequence etc? too long, that's how long. but you don't have to put up with it. you could transfer the entire game onto RAMLINK so that the whole game is in memory at once, and so there would be no waiting whatsoever - when you complete level one you'll go onto level 2 immedia tely. how about you serious computer users? what about having your word processor, database, spreadsheets and whatever otha utilities you feel like all booted into the RAMLINK in one go; now you can just swap from one to the other. no more resetting your computer and loading the other programs one at the time; you can use them all at once. how can you live without such a luxury? those are da advantages of using RAMLINK with the excisting software, but what about the future releases? if loads of c64 users owned RAMLINK then more soft- ware would be written specially to take advantage of capabilities. no memory limitations means bigger games with bet- ter graphics and sound. check out our mean machine demo on this months power- pack. (this is a demo putted together by electric boys entertainment software for commodore format to show all the non- believers. it's 5 or 6 parts all in all! this is just an example, it could have been almost any other demo!! - biz kid!) those two interlaced pictures take up almost the entire memory, so graphics like that can't be used in a game. but with a RAMLINK, no problem. and with such possibilities what software company could resist the opportunity to start releasing software geared for the device ??? J I F F Y D O S this handy little beast is a disk drive speed enchancement system, which enables loading speeds up to 15 times faster than normal loading speed. JIFFYDOS is a replacement chip set for your computer and drives rom,which means it is an integrated part of your system, therefore making it fully compatible and unaffected by copy protected programs that would normally disable yer fastload -and because JIFFYDOS is internal, you still have your cartridge ports free, so where your action replay becomes ineffec tive JIFFYDOS keeps on going. JIFFYDOS is the only system compatible with all 1541, 1571, 1581, fd and hd drives in 64 and 128 mode. not only does it provide speed enchancement, but also its own built-in disk operating system, simple keystroke commands to perform all disk functions (like format, load, save, verify, scratch, etc) toggling between printer and screen output, a two-drive file copier.. the list goes on.basically you can have an ms dos enviroment for your c64/128, and it's all built-in as soon as you install the chip (which is simplicity itself). and once you have the replacement chip in your computer all you need is one in each drive unit to make them all fylly compatible. can you live without one? probably,but think how much better living with one would be FD2000 - FD4000 these 2 floppy disk drives (that's what the fd stands for if you hadn't worked it out yet) are high capacity 800k 3.5'' models, both of which are fully 1581 compatible and also have 1.6mb storage modes. the FD4000 has a 3.2mb storage mode as well - that's an amazing 3.276k on one floppy disk. a higher capacity than even machintoshes or amigas have available.so what's the use of all these different modes? well compatibility for one thing. the fd will emulate 1541,1571 and 1581 drives, or you can format your disks in the high capacitymode only for use with the fd drive itself. and if you upgrade from 2000 to a 4000, you can still use your old disks. good, huh? not only that, but you can also format your disks in 1.44mb and 2.55mb formats for use with ms-dos computers (in other words, you will be able to transfer text and data files between your c64 and a pc though not programs). but still you may wonder, why would i want a 3.5 inch drive, and what use is so much disk space? surely this is just too much of a good thing (unless you're giving them away the drives, of course)? here's an answer i prepared earlier, to convince you that these floppy disk drives are worth paying good money for.. your 5.25 inch disks and 1541 disk drive are, of course, infinitly better than cassettes, and all software still comes through on 5.25 inch disks, but these disks do take up an awful lot of space, and you tend to get only one program per disk when you buy commercial stuff. but if you had a high-capacity 3.5 inch disk drive, in 800k mode you could store five sides worth of stuff from a 5.25 inch disk on a 3.5 inch disk. in 1.6mb mode you could store the equivalent of 10 sides, and in 3.2mb mode you could store the equivalent of 20 sides! so if you transferred all your tapes, utilities, pd software etc onto 3.5 inch disks how much easier it would be to find a specific program; instead of hav- ing 100 disks to look through, you would have only, say, 10. and of course those 3.5 inch disks are a lot more sturdy and less likely to bend or corrupt. you can partition your disks into subdirectories to make accessing a lot easier, with one directory for each variety of game or utility. but don't let this deter you from having a 1541 or similar 5.25 inch drive, becoz you still really ought to have one (and if you haven't got one - why not??). if you had only a 3.5 inch drive you wouldn't be able to transfer da software to begin with, as most of it is produced on 5.25-inch disks. H A R D D R I V E S these are the big boys on the block.most pc owners need one of these drives just to use some software (even basic stuff like address books or word processors), but you can have one just because you want one - proving once again the advan- tage of having a c64. imagine not having to use floppy disk at all, because that's how it would be. you could put your entire softwarecollection on the HARD DRIVE and load whatever you want without ever having to move away from your computer(this is a good bit of hardware for couch potatoes especially). and, as with the fd drives, you can partition and sub-directorise. the speed of the HARD DRIVE is unsurpassed, and when connected to a parallel port on the RAMLINK it rivals the speed of pc hard drives - in other words, loading in the blink of an eye. the size of these drives range from 40mb to 1.000mb. a 40mb HARD DRIVE is equal to 246 sides of a 5.25 inch disk, and that's the minimum. think what you could do with 1.000mb !! okay, so that much disk space might seem a bit exessive, but let's say you want to start a bulletin board system (bbs). to be able to have a decent amount of software on-line then you would definit- ly need a hard disk. or, if you run a public domain library, think how much easier it would be to have your entire disk collection on just one drive; all you'd need to do is to copy the games straight from hard disk to floppy - easy, fast and efficient. you could say that the hard disk is an alternative to the RAMLINK. with extra capacity and speed your software will run much faster and more smoothly, but you really need to be a die hard c64/128 fan to appreciate what a hard disk has to offer. well, the future is in your hands, folks - -- ---------------------------- -- - well, folks, there you have it.with just this brief overview, you can now see how much more there is to your commodore than you might have thought. those who believed there was little life left in the ol'box, will be biting their tounges now, and this is just the beginning. there is much more to this hardware lark than we've covered here. ah, but i see another question quivering on your lips. what good is the hardware when there's no new software 2 use on it well, surprise, surprise, there is years and years -worth of disk-only software available 2 you that you problably never knew existed, from the usa and all over europe, and companies like mine, EBES (electric boys entertainment software) are doing our darnedest to make sure it gets to the uk. and there's still new software being produced by these foreign companies right now. now the catch - at present all this amazing hardware is only available from the usa,and to order it from there would cost you a small fortune, by the time you have included the postage, packaging customs and excise, tax ... but fear not EBES to the rescue. we have agreed with creative micro designs, the company in the states who produce this hardware, to be their uk distibutors and provide all you lot with all the gadgets you will ever need to make your commy your pride and joy, not to mention the envy of all your snes-, megadrive- and amiga-owning friends who thought the c64 was just a doorstop. but alas, there is one hitch. before we can do this, we need to know if you lot actually want to upgrade your c64s. as we've hopefully pointed out there really is no need to upgrade to a new machine because this hardware will allow the c64 to wipe the floor with all the competi- tion. if we get enough response, then we will go ahead with importing this hard ware; if not then sorry, but we are not charity. so, basically it's over to you now. so you want to invest in the c64's future? or let it go the way of the dinosaurs? we're not saying that this hardware is the ultimate solution for getting da c64 back on top of the home computing pile, but it's one of the best chances it got. and it's a blimmin'good chance if enough people get behind it. interested? then write to us here at: ELECTRIC BOYS ENTERTAINMENT SOFTWARE 917B BRIGHTON ROAD PURLEY SURREY CR8 2BP ENGLAND ---------------------------------------- yep that's it fellows. biz kid is back on the keyboard. so what do you think? doesn't this just sound fantastic??? my advice to you is to contact EBES as soon as possible to let them know that you're interested! can't you all see that dis is THE chance for the c64 scene. think of the possibi- lities! imagine a turrican kind of game with cool grafix, dozens and dozens of levels, superb music (samples??) and no loading time whatsoever. everything is in the memory!!! i hope all of you would invest the money in our scene and it's future by buying some of these wonder cadgets! ok time for the serious part : prices remember these prices are if you buy it direct from the states. if enough people are interested and contacts EBES the price will most deffently be lower! -------------------------------------- ramlink with 0mb ramcard $ 199,95 ramlink with 1mb ramcard $ 259,95 ramlink with 4mb ramcard $ 379,95 ---------------------------------- hd-40 85mb $ 495.00 hd-100 170mb $ 595.00 hd-200 245mb $ 695.00 ---------------------------------- fd-2000 (800k- 1.6mb) $ 179.95 fd-4000 (800k- 1.6/3.2mb) $ 249.95 ---------------------------------- jiffydos c64-system $ 49.95 jiffydos sx64-system $ 49.95 jiffydos c128-system $ 59.95 jiffydos 128d-system $ 59.95 additional drive roms $ 24.95 -------------------------------------- yep i guess that's really it this time. well think about it and and remember to support the scene. i'm outta here biz kid!!